Paul Hostovskys Comments
About Naughtons Quarters there isnt much to say except (and I hate when people say this about their poemsso I guess Ive turned into one of those people I hatewhich I guess is fodder for another poem) that its true. Its a true story. It happened, and then I put it in a poem: I often go for walks in a nearby cemetery, where I noticed one of the gravestonesNaughtons (may he rest in peace) was covered with silver coins, mostly quarters, which Im always running out of, especially when I need them, especially for the parking meters in Boston where I work. So I stole some of them (god forgive me). And I felt a little guilty about it. And I told a friend about it later on, who told me that it was definitely not OK to do that. Nevertheless, I couldnt stop doing it. So I wrote the poem and immortalized Naughton (the redress of poetry?) by putting his name in the title.
The opening lines of Locust (When youre in pain/for a long time/and then the pain finally goes away/you miss the pain) was something someone said to me once (or something like that), and it stayed with me, because I didnt understand it, and yet I knew it was true, in a wayhad experienced it myself, sort ofbut couldnt explain it to myself. This poem is my attempt to explain it to myself.
As for Postmortem, I think the Buddha said not to pursue happiness. Which sounds a little un-American, doesnt it? But the Buddha also said happiness itself is a byproduct. Now thats American! Byproducts are something we, as Americans, can relate to, cant we? The byproducts of oil refinement, say, which account for just about everything in our modern American lives, giving us all more time and energy for the pursuit of
happiness. And who knows what to do with so much happiness when its all said and done? Bury it in the body? Send it orbiting around in the head? Flush with happiness, it could kill us if were
mindful. We could die of happiness.
Return to Archive